Partnerships with Purpose: Announcing Recipients of $1.2 Million Challenge Grant

WSAC Regional Challenge Grant

In an exciting development that underscores our commitment to fostering social and economic mobility for students, The Foundation For Tacoma Students is honored to announce the recent recipients of a Regional Challenge Grant from the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC). 

This grant, a substantial sum of $1.2 million, is a vital step in our journey toward reshaping educational outcomes. It serves as a beacon of hope and progress for organizations throughout Pierce County, enabling them to address critical challenges. These include reducing barriers rooted in racial and gender disparities that affect lifetime earnings, improving credential attainment rates among first-generation college students, and transforming aspirations into tangible realities for many students of color.

Designed as a collaborative effort, the Regional Challenge Grant signifies a shared commitment to overcoming barriers in educational attainment and persistence. The recipient organizations embody the spirit of our mission to create more pathways to a promising future.

Our selection process ensured focusing on aligning with our core areas: Financial Aid Completion, Continuing Education, and Workforce Development. Through the dedicated efforts of our cross-functional committee of community leaders and educators, we aim to catalyze change at the grassroots level.

Rodney Wolfenbarger, the Director of Pierce County Pathways at our Foundation, eloquently captures the essence of our mission: “When we think about the goal of the regional challenge grant program, it’s making sure that education is increasingly equitable.” This grant is more than funding, he says, “it’s a step towards influencing policy, scaling effective strategies, and unified advocacy for systemic change that benefits more students and parents.”

Together, we can amplify the impact of these grants, ensuring that every student throughout Pierce County has access to the necessary resources and support to thrive. 

We encourage you to explore the stories and initiatives of each grant recipient, to understand the diverse and significant ways they are enhancing the educational landscape in their communities.

Regional Challenge Grant Recipients

Committed to supporting underrepresented Pierce County students of color to overcome financial, cultural, and social barriers in their pursuit of higher education.

Hosts virtual financial aid workshops in partnership with school districts, nonprofits, and other organizations/individuals.

Provide meaningful and transformative writing and artistic opportunities for teens and young adults in greater Tacoma.

Northwest Education Access provides comprehensive and individualized support to help low-income young people, ages 16-29, build their own path to higher education and beyond.

Provides opportunities for all students in the region to have the STEM competencies and opportunities to thrive in a vibrant, innovative and swiftly changing economy through public-private partnerships between education and industry.

Provides the program Promised Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT) program engages Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) youth and young adults with mentorship, wrap-around services, educational support, and cultural connections to overcome barriers and guide them on the path to success in school and in life.

Provides social-emotional programming for students to gain skills such as empathy, perseverance, cooperation, conflict resolution, and self-expression in addition to professional skills like teamwork, problem-solving, advanced leadership skills, a strong work ethic, and a responsibility to community.

Provides workforce development opportunities for youth to adopt skills and grow through skateboarding.

Creates and encapsulates restorative services focused on developing transformational leaders through our culturally responsive educational tool that serve students, leaders, and administrators.

Helps prevent substance use by promoting academic and technical excellence that includes building and developing critical skills for middle and high school students drawn from low income and BIPOC communities.

Provides one-stop-shop to schools for educational and employment opportunities management from summer jobs and internships to college and scholarships.

Provides growth and development opportunities for youth that are currently facing homelessness, substance abuse, are within the foster care system while teaching social and cultural capital to youth.

Provides STEM post-secondary pathways and workforce development opportunities.

Connects and uplifts positive youth development and community-centered opportunities prioritizing youth who have or currently are in the court / juvenile system.

Provides programming that focuses and support LGBTQ+ through Black and Brown organizing, prioritizing land and bodily autonomy, and reclaiming our cultural narratives.

Provides opportunities for finding and using techniques and strategies to fund school and post high school activities.

Provides programming and opportunities for African Americans and other underserved urban residents in the achievement of social equality and economic independence.

PLU provides support and programming for students to achieve success through financial aid resources.

Clover Park Technical College’s Student Aid and Scholarships department seeks to package Financial aid in support of CPTC’s mission to recruit and retain a diverse student population. SAS staff provide proactive and deliberate outreach to prospective and current students as it is imperative that students understand how to apply and reapply for financial aid funding.

Focuses on helping individuals and organizations increase their environmental and social impact through meaningful actions.